Fire minister Penny Mordaunt has launched an independent review to ensure that firefighters’ conditions of service support their front line work of preventing fire and protecting the public.
The review will be led by Adrian Thomas, an expert in the field of personnel management and staff resourcing. Thomas will now consult extensively with fire and rescue authorities, firefighters and representative bodies and report back in February 2015.
A report written by former fire chief Sir Ken Knight – entitled: ‘Facing the Future’ and published last year – outlined how improvements could be made to front line services if firefighters’ conditions of service were reviewed.
This review will consider whether the current Terms and Conditions are conducive to building the fire and rescue service of the future and look at national arrangements for agreeing conditions around:
*management practices and crewing arrangements
*collaboration and integration with other emergency services
*the use of on call firefighters
*clarity of process in the fair recruitment and remuneration of chief fire officers and fire officers
Official national statistics show that fire deaths in England have continued to fall, with 5% fewer deaths than last year continuing a trend that has witnessed a near 40% drop since 2004.
The figures also show that, last year, fire and rescue services attended 170,000 fires – the second lowest number of fire incidents ever recorded.
Launching the review, Penny Mordaunt MP commented: “Firefighters put their lives on the line every day and deserve a workplace that’s fully focused on fire prevention and protection. We have a responsibility to each and every firefighter to make sure their conditions of service, some of which are decades old, fully support the challenges modern firefighters face every day.”
Mordaunt added: “This review will involve a massive piece of evidence gathering, in particular from firefighters themselves as they have the expertise and ideas to take the service forward. I hope as many firefighters as possible will contribute. The process will give fire chiefs an up-to-date assessment of the workplace around which they can then implement lasting improvements so that firefighters may continue to serve the needs of their communities to the best of their abilities for years to come.”